Vote on Boris Johnson’s future: This is how Tory MPs will decide if he remains PM

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A Cabinet minister has called on Tory MPs to unite behind Boris Johnson (Daniel Leal/PA) (PA Wire)
A Cabinet minister has called on Tory MPs to unite behind Boris Johnson (Daniel Leal/PA) (PA Wire)

MPs are being banned from taking their mobile phones into the room where they will vote on Boris Johnson’s leadership on Monday evening because they are not all trusted not to take photos of their ballot paper.

The restriction is being imposed by the executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs because last time there was a confidence vote in a Tory leader, Theresa May in December 2018, two MPs took photos of how they voted.

The move can pile pressure on other MPs to show how they vote in the secret ballot.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, said: “We are insisting photographs should not be taken.”

The vote will take place in Room 10 in Parliament between 6pm and 8pm.

The result will be announced at 9pm in Room 14, with Mr Johnson having been told it shortly before it is made public.

When MPs arrive at Room 10, they will be asked to hand over their mobile phones.

Their name will then be crossed off a list.

They will be given a ballot paper and go to the back of the room where they will vote in areas which are screened off.

Afterwards, they will be able to pick up their phones.

MPs will be able to vote in proxy for up to two colleagues, given that some may still be making their way to Westminster from more remote constituencies.

They will have to show written consent from the MPs they are voting for by proxy in order to do so.

The vote was triggered after Sir Graham received at least 54 letters by Sunday from Tory MPs calling for a confidence vote in the Prime Minister, with others having signalled that they would do so after the end of the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday long weekend as they did not want to spoil the celebrations with political turmoil.

The letters of no confidence are understood to have been sent in by letter, email and Whatsapp messages.

If Mr Johnson loses the vote, he is expected to remain Prime Minister while the Conservatives choose a new leader to take over in No10 for the rest of the Parliament.

The parliamentary stage of a leadership contest, to whittle contenders down to a short list of two through a series of votes, could be done relatively quickly before Tory members are given the final say.

The whole process could be done in between around a month and three months, given that a series of hustings would have to take place and a voting system including postal ballots organised.

So, if a contest was triggered this week, a new leader could be in position for the Tory annual conference in Birmingham at the start of October.

If Mr Johnson gains a majority on Monday evening, 180 out of 359 Tory MPs, he can at least technically continue in office even if he wins the confidence ballot by just one vote.

But if there is a major revolt of 120 to 130 MPs he may struggle to carry on with such widespread opposition in his party.

If he loses the confidence vote, he is not able to stand in the subsequent leadership contest.

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